The last word: The next CX powerhouse

Chişinău in Moldova, a country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, with a population of 2.5 million, could be Europe’s next outsourcing champion.

Atlanta was this week a global business services (GBS) hotspot. Dozens of global GBS leaders, analysts, and enterprise decision-makers joined the fourth edition of the CxOutsourcers Mindshare event to share ideas, discuss how to improve a sector that creates one million jobs globally per annum and make meaningful connections. 

Central and Eastern Europe mainstay Poland retained its fourth-place ranking in 2024 as a top offshore CX (customer experience) delivery location, unchanged from last year.   

The annual survey of 750 enterprise contact centre buyers from 11 key demand markets, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the US showed that much of this had to do with a solid level of favourability in Germany, where it was tied for the most-favoured location with European nearshore rival Egypt. “Poland also had strong appeal across other demand markets in Europe, especially the UK,” Peter Ryan of Ryan Advisory told me. 

Emerging locations 

I joined a panel discussion exploring new horizons and identifying emerging offshore and nearshore locations for business process outsourcing and customer experience operators. 

My fellow panellists and I were asked to showcase two emerging destinations that we believe stand a high chance of attracting more delivery centres.  

My choices were based on research and the experience shared by C-level executives running these centres, not on wishful thinking and the country’s desire to suddenly start promoting a specific sector, but on genuine commitment and the actual growth of the sector, and most importantly, on a comprehensive strategy to grow the industry further. 

Chişinău in Moldova, a country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, with a population of 2.5 million, is Europe’s next powerhouse.  

The country operates Europe’s first remote technology park with more than 200 residents with foreign capital and offers a simplified taxation model with a single tax of seven per cent, a virtual operating regime, and simplified interaction with the public authorities. The IСT sector’s share in the country’s GDP now tops five per cent, surpassing the wine industry, which until recently was the leading sector in the country’s economy. Almost 4.5 per cent of Moldovans are employed in the ICT sector, which is the second highest percentage of any country in emerging Europe, after Estonia. 

Above all, I emphasised the government’s commitment to going fully digital. Moldova is included in the ‘high’ E-Government Development category for its implementation of digital public services, according to the UN E-Government Development Index. 

The other choice was Prishtina in Kosovo, Europe’s youngest country. Exports of computer services quadrupled between 2017 and 2021. The country has been the leading non-EU country in Emerging Europe’s IT Competitiveness Index for quite some time.  

In the upcoming 2024 edition of the Future of IT report, in the Talent component of the IT Competitiveness Index, Kosovo ranks higher than some of the regional leading IT giants such as Romania, Ukraine and Czechia, and in the Education subcomponent, is emerging Europe’s number one country.   

Raiffeisen Bank International, one of the leading business banks in Austria and the CEE region, has been operating an IT competence centre for strategic initiatives in Kosovo for over a decade. There are also quite a few local IT providers working with international clients. 

The other emerging locations highlighted by my fellow panellists were Georgetown in Guyana, a country on South America’s North Atlantic coast, Merida (Mexico), Amman (Jordan), Kigali (Rwanda), Lagos (Nigeria), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Belize and Guatemala (both in Central America). 

Emerging technologies 

Artificial intelligence (AI) was also a key topic at this year’s CXOutsourcers event. One of my takeaways from the discussions that I witnessed was that data clean-up and analysis are the top priorities to get started with AI models. The other was that a lot of organisations that say they have implemented AI already is far from having done so. 

Implementing AI in business requires a comprehensive strategy encompassing several key components. Firstly, thorough research and assessment of the organisation’s current state and future objectives are crucial. This involves identifying pain points, opportunities for improvement, and areas where AI can drive tangible value. Developing a clear roadmap detailing the integration process, including resource allocation, timeline, and milestones, provides a structured approach for implementation.

Building internal expertise through training programmes or hiring skilled professionals ensures the organisation possesses the necessary capabilities to leverage AI effectively. Collaboration between different departments and stakeholders fosters alignment and buy-in, enhancing the likelihood of successful adoption.  

Moreover, establishing robust data governance practices to ensure data quality, privacy, and security is paramount for AI success. Embracing a culture of experimentation and learning encourages innovation and agility, allowing the organisation to adapt to changing circumstances and technologies. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of AI systems’ performance and impact enable refinement and optimisation over time, ensuring ongoing value creation.  

Lastly, staying abreast of industry trends and advancements in AI technology enables the organisation to remain competitive and capitalise on emerging opportunities. By following this strategic approach, businesses can unlock the full potential of AI to drive growth, efficiency, and innovation. 

I am already looking forward to next year’s edition of CXOutsourcers, which is scheduled for May 7-8, 2025, in Munich, Germany. And I have been invited to chair the event. 

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